Record #1203

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Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Samuel Goldwyn
Reel 12
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Meetings - MPPDA Board

Includes 2 memoranda re the pedagogic enterprises directed by Mark A. May: the history and development of the project using excerpts of feature films in character education, and the use of non-current theatrical shorts in schools. Note that May was part of the Education Committee arising from the Public Relations Conference in September 1929.


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Memo, Hays to Board of Directors, 3 February 1939 on MPPDA pedagogic enterprises, supervised by Mark A. May: "... Late in 1931, after studying the problem for two years, the Committee reported that in their opinion practically all of the many thousands of feet of motion picture film that had been produced for use in teaching character education had proved valueless for that purpose." They set about extracting material from features. "This suggestion, of course, ran counter to the invariable policy of motion picture companies who junk their prints after the picture has served its time in the theatre and return the negative to the vaults." This led to the Secrets of Success series -- used in 1935 and 1936 on a wide experimental basis, to over 600,000 pupils. -- films used listed. In another project "In ten selected education centers a more detailed study of the effects of the films is being made. The students are given a survey of attitudes in human relations in October. The same survey is repeated in May. Meantime stenographic reports of all discussions are kept. In addition, each student has a sort of movie diary in which to keep information about his favorite types of films, actors, stories and the like. All of these sources of information are used in an effort to find out what changes in the students may be largely due to their film experiences. The information also indicates other types of films that should be added to the series. "These records have already demonstrated that motion pictures do provide a medium through which students markedly increase their understanding of the causes of various types of human behavior. A monograph is in preparation reporting on the changes in attitudes of the students that have been discovered in the course of the evaluation project. Also in preparation is a book presenting film discussions as a technique peculiarly fitted to the needs of education in a democracy." In a separate report, 6,000 schools now have Photoplay Appreciation Courses. "From 1930 to the spring of 1936 we collected in the office of the Association the curricula of 1,000 schools or more and during the same interval collected from the press and took from other sources statements made by leading educators concerning the objectives of education 'in a modern democracy.' "We were endeavoring to decipher for ourselves where non-current theatrical short subjects might fit into the classroom curricula. We were also considering in what ways such pictures might serve to attain those educational goals advanced by educators in the teaching of which the curricula indicated little or no subject matter." -- for this they used the Yale Institute of Human Relations, Director Mark A. May.

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